VOL. IV - CHAPTER 11

James Veness and Margaret Cornford

James Veness was born on 12 April 1842 at Hooe. He was the son of James Veness. butcher and Selina Veness formerly Hunnisett (Chapter 5). Selina registered the birth, making her mark (Reg Gen June Qtr 1842 Hailsham 7 341).

At the time of the 1851 census James, aged 8 is listed with the rest of his family at "Late Wrights", Hooe.

In addition there is an entry which shows James Veness, aged 9, born Hooe, Sussex visiting Thomas and Hannah Honeysett at the Nursery, Herstmonceux. Selina Honeysett was James' mother. Thomas and Hannah were her parents. I suspect that what has happened is that James' parents included him in the records for Hooe as he normally lived there but when the census was taken he had been staying with his grandparents.

In 1861 James was boarding at 33 West Street, Hastings with Thomas Pleydell, shoemaker and his family. James, 18 was a butcher. There were two other boarders at the address, Charles Vinall, 22, also a butcher and Tilden Henham, 23 year old collar maker.

On 12 July 1864 James married Margaret Cornford (shown as Mary in the majority of parish registers) at Warbleton Parish Church. James is described as a 22 year old butcher from Hooe, the son of James Veness, butcher. Margaret is a 28 year old servant from Warbleton, daughter of William Cornford, shoemaker. Both parties signed the register. The witnesses were William Sutton and Jane Cornford.

Margaret was born on 1 May 1835, the daughter of William Cornford and Mary Payn. She was baptised on 31 May 1835 at Wadhurst Parish Church (Appendix D) .

James and Margaret had four daughters and one son.

James and Margaret's first child Mary Selina Veness was baptised at Hooe Parish Church on 20 May 1866 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1866 Hailsham 2b 64). At the time James and Margaret were living at Diamond Cottage, Hooe. There is no specific mention of them in the Land Tax Assessments, but this is probably because they were just one occupant of a pair of cottages.

Diamond Cottage, Hooe, now converted to one residence is pictured below. 

Their second child, Jane Veness was baptised on 21 February 1868 at Hooe Parish Church.

Our line continues in Chapter 12 through James and Margaret's only son, James William Veness who was born on 4 December 1871 and christened on 25 February 1872 at Hooe Parish Church. The family were then living at The Common, Hooe where they had been living when the census was taken on 2 April 1871. Hooe Common refers to area and no specific property name is mentioned.

James and Margaret had two more daughters baptised at Hooe Parish Church, Edith Maria Veness on 22 February 1874 and Bertha Blanche Veness on 29 August 1875.

Whilst James is described as a butcher on his marriage certificate, at the time of the 1871 and 1881 census' he is described as a grocer, and in the 1878 "Post Office Directory" and in the 1882 "Sussex Trade Directory" as a baker/grocer. He is also described as a grocer by his father at the time he made his will on 28 November 1872.

James seemed to have achieved at least some degree of status within the community, for at a Vestry meeting on 29 March 1877, he and Mr. R Pilbeam were appointed assessors for the ensuing year (East Sussex County Record Office PAR 382/4/2). The role undertaken by the assessor is not clear, the poor rate was normally assessed by the overseer, but he may have delegated the job in this case. 

At the time of the 1881 census the family were still living at Hooe Common. The entry reads

  • James Veness, head, aged 38, grocer, born Hooe
  • Margaret Veness, wife, aged 43, born Wadhurst
  • Mary Veness, daughter, aged 15, no occupation, born Hooe
  • Jane Veness, daughter, aged 12, scholar, born Hooe
  • William Veness, son, aged 9, scholar, born Hooe
  • Edith Veness, daughter, aged 7, scholar, born Hooe
  • Bertha Veness, daughter, aged 5, scholar, born Hooe

In the 1891 and 1895 "Kelly's Directory of Sussex" Jas. Veness is shown as a butcher/farmer at Sandhill Farm (now Sandhall Farm) Jas. was then a common abbreviation for the name James and it is known that James and Margaret lived there for part of their married life.

Sandhill Farm was so named because it had a sand hill from which sand was obtained for building purposes. It was then owned by Sir James Duke, Baronet. He was knighted in 1849 and succeeded his father as Baronet in 1873. The family crest, a Demi-Gryphon (griffin) winged with a peacocks feather in its beak supporting a sword, can still be seen on the farmhouse porch.

James Veness was first shown in the Land Tax Assessments for Hooe as renting land from Sir James Duke in 1890 and earlier assessments confirm the property as Sandhill Farm (East Sussex County Record Office PAR 382/5/2).

Earlier Land Tax Assessments also show a James Veness as both proprietor and occupier of firstly a house and garden (with Robert Pilbeam 1867-1884), and then a garden plot (1885), a house and garden (1886-1888), and a house and shop (1889-1893). Although the proprietor is generally the owner of the property, long-term lessees and copyholders may have appeared instead. These entries could relate to either James or his father, but as said in Chapter 5 by 1871 it is believed that James senior had moved away. In addition from 1890 when James first rented land from Sir James Duke, his house, shop and lands shown as being occupied by H Simmons, suggesting the entries relate to the same family.

So by 1891 the family were living at Sandhill Farm. The entry includes, James Veness aged 48, farmer and butcher, his wife Margaret aged 54, daughters Jane aged 22, Edith aged 17 and Bertha aged 15 and son William Veness aged 19, a butcher. Also included are Rebena Veness, granddaughter, aged 4, born Sussex and Mary Roberts, a married woman aged 50 and described as a 'sister'. It is not known where Mary Selina was at the time.

James Veness died on 13 September 1898 at The Common, Hooe. Aged 56 he is described as a master butcher. The cause of death is given as 'mortus Coutis exhaustion'. The informant was his daughter Edith Maria Veness who was still living at home at the time. (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1898 Hailsham 2b 60).

In his will dated 19 May 1870 James writes

"This is the last will and testament of me James Veness of the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex. I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses and testamentary expenses be paid and satisfied by my executor and executrix hereinafter named as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.

I give devise and bequeath all and every my household furniture linen and wearing apparel , books, china, pictures, shop stores and fittings and freehold house, garden and appurtenances hereto belonging , known and situate opposite the Red Lion Inn in the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex together with my horse and cart also all and every sum or sums of money which may be found in my house or be about my person or due to me at the time of my decease and also all my stock funds and securities and all and every other very estate and effects whatsoever and whosesoever both real and personal whether in possession or reversion remainder or expectancy unto my beloved wife Margaret Veness of the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex aforesaid for her absolute use and for the benefit, maintenance, education and clothing of my beloved children namely Mary Selina and Jane Veness till such a time as they become of age then the freehold property, household furniture books, china, horse, cart and all and every other my estate funds, etc shall be sold and equally divided between my beloved wife Margaret and my beloved children Mary Selina and Jane Veness.

Provided also should my herein after named executor and executrix being fully convinced that the that sale of the property before or any part thereof as the case may be then they the hereinafter named executor and executrix with the consent of both the contracting parties shall cause to be sold any or either part of my property before devised the the proceeds of any such sale or sales to be entirely used for the benefit of my beloved wife Margaret and Mary Selina and Jane Veness my beloved children .

And further should either of the before mentioned children marry and die before my before mentioned wife Margaret Veness then shall the proportionate part of such parties viz Mary Selina or Jane Veness be equally divide between the legitimate children of either party as the case may be.

And further ,I express and wish it to be perfectly understood that my executor and executrix shall have full power to act both consenting for the advantage of my wife Margaret and my children Mary Selina and Jane Veness to do for them the best they possible can.

And I nominate constitute and appoint James Veness, grocer, of Dorset Place in the parish of St Michaels in tyre borough of Hastings and the county of Sussex to be my executor and Margaret Veness of the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex to be my executrix of this my last will and hereby revoking all former or other Wills and Testament by me at anytime heretofore made.

I declare this to be my last Will and Testament. In witness I the said James Veness have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand the nineteenth day of May in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy".

The witnesses were William Cornford of Hooe and William John Syms of 19 Wellington Road, Silver Hill, St Leonards who I take to be the solicitors.

Probate was granted to Margaret Veness, the surviving executor on 7 November 1898. The gross value of the estate was £605.3s 5d. The net value was £152.17s 11d (approx. £67,495 in 2007- Measuringworth.com)

Interestingly James made this will before the birth of son James or daughters Edith and Bertha and never changed it. The will also seems to divide the estate between his widow and two elder children in Mary's lifetime. Where would this have left her had they insisted that his assets including the family home, if owned was sold? Also, I wonder what the younger children had thought?

It appears that James's widow continued with the business. In "Kelly's Directory" of 1899 for Hooe, Mrs Margaret Veness is listed as a butcher. Miss Edith Veness is listed a shopkeeper.

The 1901 census shows Margaret, a widow aged 64, born Wadhurst living at The Common, Hooe and still running a "butchers and general shop". She is described as an 'employer'. Her daughter, Bertha B Veness, aged 25, still single and Rebecca O S Veness, her grandaughter aged 14 were living with her. 

Her son James William Veness (Chapter 12) was also living at The Common and was working as a butcher. I assume worker means 'employed' and presumably James was employed by his mother?

"The Bexhill Almanac" from 1901 through to 1905 lists Mrs James Veness and William Veness as butchers and a Miss Veness as running a grocery and general store at Victoria Villas, Hooe. In 1901 the grocery store is being run by Miss Edith Veness and thereafter no christian name is given. No Veness's are listed in the 1906 or 1907 additions. 

Victoria Villas, believed to be somewhat extended since 1905 is pictured below. 

Margaret Veness died in 1909 aged 73 (Reg Gen June Qtr. 1909 Hailsham 2b 78).

Aside from James William Veness who is the subject of Chapter 12, little is known of the children of James and Margaret.

Mary Selina Veness

James and Margaret's first child Mary Selina Veness was baptised at Hooe Parish Church on 20 May 1866 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1866 Hailsham 2b 64). At the time James and Margaret were living at Diamond Cottage, Hooe. 

It is unclear where Mary Selina Veness was at the time of the 1891 census.

However by then she had given birth to an illegitimate daughter. Rebna Ouida Snow Veness had been born in 1886 (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1886 Hailsham 2b 95). In 1891 Rebna was living with her grandparents. She was baptised on 18 July 1892, the illegitimate daughter of Mary Selina Veness at Hooe Parish Church. The father was 'unknown'. Mary's occupation is given as a driver.

In 1901 there is still no trace of Mary Selina but her daughter "Rebecca" , aged 14 was still living with her grandparents.

In 1911 there is no trace of Mary Selina. Rebina Ouida Snow, aged 24, a clerk in a registry office was visiting her Aunt Bertha (see below). 

It is thought Mary Selina Veness never married. 

In 1939 Rebna Veness was a cook living and presumably working for Rose Wallis, hotelier at 3 & 5 Victoria Place, Eastbourne. Rebna died in 1947 in Hastings (Reg Gen Dec 1947 Hastings 5h 284). 

Jane Neve nee Veness

James and Margaret's second child, Jane Veness was baptised on 21 February 1868 at Hooe Parish Church.

She appears to have lived at home with her parents until 7 June 1892, when she married Charles Arthur Neve, a gentleman aged 28, son of George Neve, miller, at Hooe Parish Church.

The 1901 census shows Jane aged 30 living next door to her mother, Margaret Veness at "The Common", Hooe with her husband Charles Neve, aged 36, a market gardener, born Hooe and their children

  • Charles William James Neve. Born 16 July 1893 in Ashford, Kent (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1893 West Ashford 2a 803), Baptised 27 August 1893 at Hooe.
  • George Arthur L Neve. Born 1895 in Hooe (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1895 Hailsham 2b 90)
  • Sidney Victor Neve. Born 1897 in Hooe (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1897 Hailsham 2b 91). Sidney died in 1913 aged 16 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1913 Battle 2b 64)
  • Margaret May Neve. Born 1900 in Hooe (Reg Gen March Qtr 1900 Hailsham 2b 91),

In 1911 they are living at Manor House Stables, Sea Road, Bexhill. 46 year old Charles is a domestic gardener. Their son George, aged 16 is a domestic under gardener and their son Sidney, aged 14, an errand boy. Their daughter Margaret was still at school. Two further daughters had been born.

  • Theresa Jane Neve. Born 1902 at Hooe (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1902 Hailsham 2b 94)
  • Kathleen Neve. Born 1905 at Hooe (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1905 Hailsham 2b 90).

Nothing more is known about Charles, Jane Neve, or their children, except for 

  • George A Neve may have died in 1932 (Reg Gen Sept 1932 Preston 2b 319)
  • Sidney V Neve may have died in 1916 (Reg Gen June 1913 Battle 2b 64)
  • Margaret May Neve is believed to have married Frederick V Mitchell in 1924 (Reg Gen December 1924 Battle 2b 121). 
  • Teresa Jane Neve may have married Brian R Griggs in 1928 (Reg Gen December 1928 Battle 2b 130).

Edith Maria Morris nee Veness

Edith Maria Veness was baptised on 22 February 1874 at Hooe Parish Church.

Again in 1881 and 1891 Edith Is living at home with her parents.

On 25 December 1900 Edith Maria Veness, married Luthi Morris, a farmer aged 29, son of Thomas Morris, farmer at Hooe Parish Church (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1900 Hailsham 2b 224).

The 1901 census shows Edith, aged 27 living with her husband Luther aged 29 a farmer, born Ninfield and Basil J Vitler, aged 14 a boarder, a labourer on farm, born Hooe, at Sadlers Farm, Hooe.

"The Bexhill Almanac" in 1901 show Miss Edith Veness as running a grocery and general stores at Victoria Villas. I assume this refers to Edith even though she was married by that time. Later years only refer to "Miss Veness", 

In 1911 Luther Morris, aged 39 and his 37 year old wife Edith Maria were farming at Billlingham Farm, Udimore, Rye. They had two children:

  • Luther Thomas James Morris. Born 1904 in Udimore, Sussex (Reg Gen March Qtr 1904 Rye 2b 7)
  • Cecil Dudley Morris. Born 1907 in Udimore, Sussex. 

Luther Morris of Billingham Farm, Udimore died on 23 July 1960 at Rye and Winchelsea Memorial Hospital. Probate was granted to Luther Thomas James Morris and Cecil Dudley Morris, farmers. 

Edith Maria Morris died in 1962

Luthi and Edith's son Luther Thomas James Morris died in 1988

Luthi and Edith's son Cecil Dudley Morris married Hilda May Clark in Rye in 1928. Cecil Dudley Morris of Maidlands Farm, Brede, Sussex died on 30 July 1964 at St Helens Hospital, Hastings. Probate was granted to Luther Thomas James Morris and Edna Diane Deacon, married woman. Hilda May Morris died in 1987.

Bertha Blanche Connolly nee Veness

Bertha Blanche Veness was baptised on 29 August 1875.

Bertha Blanche Veness married Patrick Connolly in 1903 (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1903 Battle 2b 129)

In 1911 Patrick and Bertha were living in Boreham Street, where 32 year old Patrick was a groom working for presumably the local doctor. The census shows Patrick had been born in Galway, Ireland.

They had two children:

  • Patrick Joseph Connolly. Born 1905 in Boreham
  • Harold Cecil Gregory Connolly. Born 1908 in Boreham

Also visiting them at the time that the census was taken was Bertha's niece, Rebina Ouida Snow Veness, who, aged 24, was a clerk in a registry office.

Click here to go to "Chapter 12 - James Veness and Charlotte Edith Pocock".

To find out more about the Cornford family, click here to go to "Appendix D - Cornford"

Click here to go back to "Chapter 5 - James Veness and Selina Honeysett".